One of Manchester’s newest thriving theatre and arts centre HOME scoured the Edinburgh Fringe to bring 11 of the most critically acclaimed productions down to Manchester.
Winner of The Scotsman Fringe First Award 2015, Gary McNair brings his one-man show of hope and heart-ache to the stage. Following it’s sell-out run at the Traverse Theatre, and both the US and Australia, he is now touring the production nationwide.
McNair takes a humble approach to his storytelling. With the warmth of a few pieces of tatty furniture, and a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, we are introduced to a young boy. Telling the story of his heartwarming relationship with his grandad, the young Scottish boy Gary is nimble, yet uses his words bravely.
A keen gambler, his grandad teaches him the ways and tells him: “Life son, is a gamble.” Whilst Gary admires his determination to keep betting despite barely winning at all, he is naive towards his grandad’s addiction. But it is when his grandad is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is told he has merely a month to live, he is determined to really fight against the odds and place a bet that he will out live the timescale he is given.
McNair provides a compelling performance as he becomes each character in the story so naturally, telling the story of the grandad’s life through series of gambling and relevant anecdotes. It is the story of a man who wins a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup, and gambles it all on surviving until the year 2000.
The language of the play is poetic and bursting with touching metaphors and poignant dialogue. However beneath the moving storyline is a magnitude of humour, as McNair’s emotional dynamics are executed remarkably.
McNair’s performance is expressive, he grows in the piece as his curiosity is reflected in the classroom scenes as he answers back to his teacher who states: “Only two things are certain in life, we are born and we die.” Which is a statement echoed throughout the performance, and used in the emotive final monologue.
Ultimately it is a show about an unbreakable relationship between a young boy and his grandad. Centering around the idea of luck, probability and chances.
Tickets for A Gambler’s Guide to Dying and information on the Orbit Festival can be found here.